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Crowds Gather for Annual MLK Day March in Austin

A march today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day drew large crowds* of people who walked from the MLK statue at the University of Texas to Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college in Austin. Cicily Roan took part and said she believes race relations are improving in America. 

“I think with all the activists and the Black Lives Matter, it’s still improving, but we still have a long way to go,” Roan said.

Hosea Brown, on the other hand, has been a corrections officer for 32 years and believes race relations are getting worse. 

“It’s not only as far as the community and the police department, but it’s also the younger men’s mind frame. They need to get better. On both sides it needs to be worked on,” she said.

Ramont Mitchell brought out his one-year-old son and reflected on how the city’s rising cost of living was contributing to a declining African-American population.

“You have the east side of Austin being built up, and there are some people being driven out, and that’s very unfortunate. However, the economy in Austin is as good as its ever been, so I think you have a balance there. Those factors make Austin the best city in the country right now.”

A UT study from 2014 found Austin was the only U.S. city experiencing double-digit population growth that saw its African-American population decline.

One of the largest MLK marches in the country today was in San Antonio, where organizers estimated about 200,000 people would show up.  

*This story headline originally stated there were hundreds of people gathered for the march. This was based on preliminary estimates. Our KUT photographer estimates there were more than 1,000. APD has not confirmed any estimates with KUT at this time.

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